Unlike any other forms of hunting, bowhunting and archery require you to approach fitness in a different way. Your mental and physical abilities must be trained for success. Patience and stamina and mind over matter will keep you sitting longer and more undetected than anyone else. To keep up your strength (during long hours of cold mornings in the tree-stand) my Bowhunters Guide to Fitness will start you on a path to success or add to your current success.
Arguably, the best way to train your back and upper body for drawing your bow (in the most quiet and smooth way possible) is to shoot it!!!!
I’m going to focus on white-tail hunting from a tree-stand because that’s what I know best. A bowhunter uses every muscle group in his or her body to get the job done. Each part of the body has a major role in some aspect of the hunt. Legs, core and cardio can get you to your stand undetected. Legs, core and upper body get you up the tree. Your core, the most important of the muscle groups, keeps you balanced in the stand while waiting for your white-tail. The core also keeps you in your stand while shooting. Chest, shoulders, back, triceps and core are all used when drawing your bow. Your back is the most engaged muscle group during your draw, and it requires a lot of extra attention.
Arguably, the best way to train your back and upper body for drawing your bow (in the quietest and smoothest way possible) is to shoot your bow!!!! As often as you can and as much as you can. Stretch before, stretch after and take rests to stretch between shots. A word of caution, do not use exercise to mimic the draw cycle. In other words, don’t tie a resistance band to a door knob and pretend to draw your bow. For example, a boxer would never hold weights in their hands and pretend to have an actual fight. You would lose your form that you’ve already spent so much time developing. The resistance would not match your bows draw cycle either. Instead focus on strengthening the muscles used for drawing your bow.
Part 2 of A Bowhunters Guide to Fitness starts you the hunter or huntress out at home with no equipment and no weights. I recommend having a back pack with a little bit of weight inside it and your bow close at hand. The following table has a list of exercises and the sets I recommend to get you started on the Bowhunter’s Guide to Fitness.
|Table-top to Superman||3 sets of 10 to 15 seconds|
|One Legged Tree stand||3 sets 10 seconds in each position|
|Push-ups||3 sets 10-12 reps|
|Superman-Reverse Fly||3 sets 10 seconds|
|Wide Grip Row||3 sets 10 reps|
|Box Squat||4 sets 10-12 reps|
|Step-up||4 sets 10-12 reps|
Have fun! Stay fit and let me know what you think.